Cinematography : Lighting guide by Diana Galimzyanova

Diana Galimzyanova

Lighting guide

As a director, I find it really hard to remember anything about the lighting, so I like this short guide I saw today

Mark W. McIntire

Thank you, Diana. This guide is quite useful.

William E. Spear

Diana - Thank you for this post. Very useful.

Royce Allen Dudley

A still photo lighting guide can be useful for referencing a stand up Direct To Camera presentation or a seated interview.... but those diagrams don't entirely relate to filmmaking. Spaces with doors windows and rooms, populated with furniture and multiple moving actors are lit completely differently...and then single camera narrative vs 3 or 4 camera are also approached very differently.

Diana Galimzyanova

thanks for the explanation :)

JD Hartman

@Royce Allen Dudley May also relate to green/blue screen shoot.

Royce Allen Dudley

If the subject isnt moving. But the green screen is lit seperately.

Brandon Flemmings

Thank you!

JD Hartman

@Royce Allen Dudley Yes the screen is lit separately. The chart is really a stills photographer's chart and isn't half as useful as similar information in a film lighting handbook. Sadly stuff posted here is on an almost infantile level. But I think a lot of that stems from members who list as: actor, screenwriter, director, producer, sound, auto mechanic, airline pilot, politician, etc. "Jack of all Trades, Master of None".

Royce Allen Dudley

People of all levels are on S32. You are correct, its heavy on the newbs... like all of filmmaking this century. The explosion in media creation is awesome. What isn't awesome is confusion. Where do people get quality information, better yet, guidance? Passive knowledge is hard to handle for most newcomers; too much info and no way to vet it other than popular consensus which suprisingly often is wrong. My comments were offered to clarify what Diana posted when she took time to post a tool she found valuable in her work. I don't think sadly is the right word, and infantile is probably insulting. Although infants toddle then walk then run... very quickly in fact. Is that sad? Nope. There's an army of new filmmakers preparing to overrun us all and a few will tell geat stories. Thats something I find cool about S32.

JD Hartman

@Royce Allen Dudley, "There's an army of new filmmakers preparing to overrun us all....." Nah, they are depending too much on re-posted crap from places like No Film School, which is just re posted crap with advertising. Do you see any paid placement of ads here on S32? Better guidance: take a class; read a book on lighting, cinematography; etc. As I stated you can't be good at everything, in their haste a lot of newcomers try to do just that instead of learning from others, as a team. Often the result is they don't develop good skills in anything.

Diana Galimzyanova

I was just doing the Content Challenge; I had no intentions to be offensive or anything.

Andrew Sobkovich

Comparison charts of images like this are used for … ahhh ….comparison. I agree that these are not moving images and that changes things greatly, and than the lightning diagrams are not as informative as they could be. But. I think there is a lot to be learned here. While this is not advanced techniques, it is important info tho those who are relatively new to looking at a face with small lighting changes shot to shot. So what is being compared? The main idea is to compare the light, shadow, and the transition between the light and shadow on the face. These points talk about the brightness contrast and hard/soft quality of the light. Often within scenes we try to keep the contrast ration fairly consistent. The height and direction of both the key and fill light affects the placement of the shadows on the face. i.e. where to we wish to put the nose shadow? Should the nose shadow fall in the crease from the corner of the mouth to the nose, should it touch the lips? How about the light around the eye socket on the darker side of the face? Should it be a nice little triangle under the eye, how far down the cheek does it go, or should it be there at all? Do you need to get light under the eyebrow into the eyes of your victims? If so, them how does that impact the light on the rest of the face? Add to this the hard/soft quality of the light and each choice has another dance of possibilities. The hard/soft quality is most visible in the transition between the full shadow areas and the fully lit areas. The wider that transition is the softer the light is, so you do not need to know the light to know what it must have been from the look of the image. Experience builds up a huge database in your visual memory. Hard light can be made soft but soft light cannot easily or effectively be made hard. There are dozens of types of diffusion materials to change the light quality, and that is then multiplied by the size and distance of the light to the subject, then add in a couple of layers of diffusion separated by a varying distance and again a huge number of choices. The trick here is to start with only a couple of choices and then add as you build up knowledge. We all have our favorites but the ability to quickly vary the amount between a medium and a heavy diffusion is the starting point. Looking closely at the images on the chart with the thought of “ what image do I like the best” is a good use. Follow this with “what differences in the images have led me to my choices?” Then there is the consideration of “what story, emotion of situation can I imagine this image in”. These considerations and many more combine to make the lighting work for the movie, or not. While so many members of Stage32 are DP's, there are a few who might pick up a lot of information from a chart like this as it is plainly there for all to see. What you see and learning how to see is another variable :-) Thank you for posting this link Diana. The light on the actor’s face is the first consideration and the absolute starting point of my lighting in every case.

Ben Chillum Sebastian

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